Clinical decision-making and the nursing process in digital health systems: An integrated systematic review

Laura Hants, Kasia Bail, Catherine Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


AIMS: To identify how the nursing process (assessment, planning, intervention and outcome evaluation) has been incorporated into digital health systems (electronic medical records, electronic care plans and clinical decision support systems) to gain an understanding of known benefits and challenges posed to nurses' decision-making processes.

BACKGROUND: Nursing terminologies, including the International Classification for Nursing Practice (ICNP), and Nursing Minimum Data Set's (NMDS), have been developed to improve standardised language integration of components of nursing care into digital systems. However, there is limited evidence regarding whether the complete nursing process is effectively being incorporated into digital health systems.

METHODS: An integrative systematic review following PRISMA guidelines. A search strategy was applied to extract articles from included databases: CINAHL, MEDLINE, SCOPUS and Web of Science Core Collection. Articles were limited to English language and published January 2007-March 2022 and assessed using a pre-determined eligibility criteria. Quality assessment and a narrative synthesis were conducted.

RESULTS: A total of 3321 articles were identified, and 27 studies included. There were (n = 10) qualitative, (n = 4) quantitative non-randomised controlled trials, (n = 3) quantitative descriptive studies and (n = 10) mixed methods. Nurse assessment and planning components were the most comprehensive phases incorporated into digital health systems, and interventions and outcome evaluation were scarcely reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Inadequate capture of nursing work is a problem unresolved by digital health systems. This omission may be hindering nurse clinical decision-making for patient care and limiting the visibility of the nursing role in health care interventions and the associated impact on patient outcomes.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Further research is needed on how digital systems can support nurses to apply the full nursing process and to further evaluate patient outcomes. Digital systems can support health-service level evaluation through capturing missed nursing care and the consequences on patients utilising nurse-sensitive-outcomes; however, this is not yet being realised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7010-7035
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number19-20
Early online date24 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical decision-making and the nursing process in digital health systems: An integrated systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this